Global warming is a touchy subject for some individuals. Now though it seems everyone is jumping on the bandwagon of green living. There are very few commercials out there that don’t have the phrases, environmentally friendly, eco, or green. But in this new rise of green living how much of it really is green? More importantly, if it’s mass-produced is it really environmentally friendly?
Walmart has a line of ‘Eco’ furniture made from ‘Environmentally friendly’ materials. It’s cheep, accessible and perfect for a dorm room. This in my mind, places it with economy rather than environmentally conscious. When box companies bring in more environmentally friendly materials I think it’s wonderful on one hand and the devil on the other. When Walmart, Target, Best Buy and many others offer green living solutions at an affordable price I think, ‘hey that’s alright.’ I mean it’s great that companies are seeing the need for reducing our footprint but at the same time the green monster called money slips into the equation. Face it big companies are in it for the money. The more stuff they sale, no matter how green it is, the better off the company is going to be. More stuff equals more money, which often means more growth and more waste. Living green is not about growth. It’s about simplification, minimal waste, and living as low impact as we can. Now I’m not saying big box companies are the devil, far from it. I love Target, I love that they carry healthy choices for snacks and reasonably priced clothes, but I do not go to Target or Walmart for my green solutions.
If you are looking to reduce your eco footprint there are a few helpful tips that you can use to guide you through the commercialism. First and foremost, when you buy anything look for the recycled percentage. The higher the percent the better off you will be. You can find higher percentages in most paper products. Always try to get the highest recycled paper products, as paper equals trees. Reduce your PG&E bill by not only installing a new air and heating system but by actually programming it to run only about ten minutes before you get home from work and then to turn off about ten minutes after you should leave. This minimizes the amount of work your AC will have to do which of course, is cash in your pocket. All your major appliances should be energy efficient if they have the energy star on them. Some older homes/appliances will not but when you upgrade it’s pretty hard now to get something that is not compliant. Also use common sense, turn off lights, take shorter showers, and kill your electronics before you walk out the door. When you buy furniture try to get vintage pieces that have classic lines that way it will be easy to re upholster making it new to you. Recycle anything and everything you can. Petition your city to make the recycling trash bin free to promote recycling. Use less harsh chemicals on your laundry, windows and doors. A great green solution for cleaning is the Mrs. Myers line of cleaning solutions. They are great cleaners with out the residue that most cleaners leave. Another great product is the Arm & Hammer Green, natural Laundry detergent. Learn to love your local health food store, whether it is a Trader Joe’s, Lassen’s, or Whole Foods you will find all your low environmental impact needs for green living. Don’t forget to take your cloth, reusable tote along for the shopping trip.
The main thing to green living is to be responsible. Be a smart shopper. If it’s main stream then more than likely it’s not going to be the greenest solution out there. Do your research too, compare products, and find a solution for green living that works for you. You don’t have to become the No Impact Man to live green. Find, and stick with products that you enjoy and are environmentally friendly at the same time. By reducing waste, simplifying our life, and living as environmentally friendly as we can we can say, ‘I’m doing my part to help reduce global warming.